World Sports News in Brief

Algorithm would decide Serie A positions in case of new COVID-19 suspension

Italy’s football federation (FIGC) decided on Monday to use an algorithm to calculate final rankings in the top-flight Serie A soccer championship if a new surge in COVID-19 cases made it impossible to complete the season.

A logo of Italy's Lega Serie A is seen in Milan, Italy, December 17, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
A logo of Italy's Lega Serie A is seen in Milan, Italy, December 17, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

In the case of a new suspension, the FIGC would aim to set final league positions through a playoff system, without rescheduling the 12 rounds of matches remaining, although the exact details have not yet been decided. If this proved impossible because the government banned all matches, the FIGC general council agreed to use a highly contentious algorithm based on teams’ home and away results.

* Brazil has withdrawn its candidacy to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, with the Brazilian Football Confederation saying the government did not consider it wise to offer financial guarantees in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil's withdrawal means Colombia, Japan and a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand are the remaining contenders to host the 32-team tournament.

* England's top-flight rugby clubs have agreed to reduce the salary cap by one million pounds (US$1.27 million) in response to financial pressures heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. An announcement is expected on Tuesday to confirm the move that could be in place from next season.

* Former world number one Justin Rose and his wife Kate are to sponsor a new women's series in Britain starting this month. The Rose Ladies Series will comprise seven one-day events for British professionals, beginning on June 18 at Brockenhurst Manor Golf Club in Hampshire.

* Former Belgium World Cup goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme quit as coach of Standard Liege on Monday, ending weeks of speculation over his future. Preud'homme, 61, also resigned as the club's technical director but will stay on as vice chairman and have a role in the youth academy.

* Netherlands international Memphis Depay has returned to training at French club Olympique Lyonnais some six months after a serious knee injury, the club said on Monday. The 26-year-old, previously at PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a Ligue 1 clash against Stade Rennes on Dec. 15.

* Ada Hegerberg's season had been cut short by the time the new coronavirus wiped out the football calendar, but the break has given her time to rehabilitate her injured knee and the Ballon d'Or-winning striker is relishing her return to training. Olympique Lyonnais' Hegerberg ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in training in January, a cruel blow that immediately ended the prolific forward's campaign.

* Liverpool midfielder Harry Wilson has extended his loan agreement with Bournemouth to stay at the Vitality Stadium until the end of the season, the Premier League clubs said on Monday. Wilson's initial deal was set to expire at the end of this month but, with the season extended due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bournemouth said the Wales winger will be available for the last nine games of the season.

* Promotion hopefuls Fulham and Brentford will kick off the action at Craven Cottage when the second-tier Championship season resumesseason on June 20 following the COVID-19 disruption, the English Football League said on Monday. Second-placed West Bromwich Albion will host Birmingham City later that day, while league leaders Leeds United visit ninth-placed Cardiff City on June 21 in the EFL's revised schedule for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

* Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet will step down from his role at the end of the current season, the Championship side (second-tier) said on Monday. Spaniard Clotet was named head coach on a permanent basis in December following his six-month stint as caretaker manager at St Andrew's Stadium.

* Nagoya Grampus goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Japanese club have said. Grampus forward Mu Kanazaki tested positive last week, shortly after the J.League had announced plans to restart the season on Jul 4.

* Manchester United's European Cup-winning defender Tony Dunne has died aged 78, the English Premier League club confirmed on Tuesday. Dunne, who joined United from Irish club Shelbourne in 1960, made 535 appearances for Matt Busby's side and played an integral role in their European Cup triumph in 1968.